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I LIVE IN BEAUTIFUL WALNUT CREEK, CALIFORNIA. THE TOWN IS IN A LITTLE VALLEY ABOUT 25 MILES EAST OF SAN FRANCISCO. THERE IS A LOVELY MOUNTAIN JUST EAST OF US CALLED MT. DIABLO. HISTORICALLY, IT’S PLACE OF WONDER AND MAGIC TO NATIVE AMERICANS. HAS BEEN FOR CENTURIES.
Years ago, during my marathon/triathlon days, I used to train on its many trails, sometimes running to the top. To the east I could see the Sierra Mountains and to the west I could see San Francisco and beyond. During my early recovery days it was a quiet refuge for me to feel it’s “magic” and be still and peaceful in my thoughts.
On some training days, in early mornings, I ran to the top of another hill just west of Walnut Creek. It had a beautiful view of town as well as scenic Mt. Diablo. I would often stop at the top (at sunrise), watch the sun come up, be still, and soak in my good fortune for living in such a beautiful place. One morning in 1995, just before finishing graduate school, I decided to take a camera and tripod along with me on my run. When I got to the top of the hill, just before sunrise I set up my camera and tripod to get a picture of the sun rising up from behind Mt. Diablo. On this day I felt especially grateful for my recovery, my upcoming educational accomplishment, and my own very real life.
I knew that I was going to be a sexual addictions counselor and I was looking forward to the challenges ahead. My current best-selling book, “Breaking the Cycle,” was just a bunch of thoughts scribbled on notepads and paper napkins. But, those thoughts and scribblings were the catalyst for my recovery as well as my late-in-life new career. In that moment, on that hill, I decided to try and “capture the sun,” in my hand—as a symbol of my appreciation for my recovery.
This was also an effort to create a reminder and commitment to USE the power of Mt. Diablo and the rising sun as a catalyst for the gifts that I had worked hard for and received. This picture was used as the first page of my master’s thesis with the quote: “A mighty flame follows a tiny spark,” by Dante. Well, I guess it worked. My book’s been a best-seller for the last six years and my practice is a success. Most of all, we have helped many men create THEIR “mighty flames from tiny sparks.” I’m most proud of THAT.
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